UPDATE: See Sheba and Anthony’s story featured on Fox News HERE!
On February 22nd, 2014, one of the worst blizzards to ever hit Pennsylvania was barreling down on Eastern PA. At 3:00PM, as PACT staff members were heading out of the office early to drive home before the big storm, our office received a desperate call for help from a social worker at the VA Hospital. A homeless veteran named Anthony had checked himself into the VA to seek medical help and shelter from the cold. However, his 12-year-old female Pit Bull, Sheba, could not come along, and had nowhere else to go. Anthony made it clear – he would go back and suffer through the storm if he and Sheba both did not find safe shelters. He would not leave her behind.
By 4:00PM, three PACT volunteers had been dispatched to find Anthony and take temporary custody of Sheba. When we found her, it was clear those months of living on the street had taken a toll. She was scared, very defensive, and in need of urgent medical attention for a massive tumor that had grown on her leg. It was also clear to us that she and Anthony shared a truly unbreakable bond. After a series of hardships and losses, Sheba was the only family this man had left in the world.
When we first took in Sheba, her medical and behavioral problems were too severe to place her in a typical foster home, so PACT had to call upon our partners in animal welfare. A local dog kennel took Sheba in for a night, and the next morning, she was moved to the veterinary clinic where she would spend the majority of her foster term. Luckily, her tumor was benign and quickly removed. After she recovered from this surgery, PACT called in a professional dog trainer to help rehabilitate Sheba.
After 6 months with PACT, and thanks to the constant love and attention she received at the vet, Sheba is almost unrecognizable: friendly, playful, and restored to full health. As for Anthony, PACT fostering Sheba allowed him to focus on getting his life on track. He now has a job, an apartment, and will soon be reuniting with the best friend he almost lost forever.
While the circumstances of this foster are unique, the love between pet and owner can be seen in all PACT fosters. All our program beneficiaries love their animals. They are their best friends, giving them peace, love, joy and companionship unconditionally. Thanks to the support of Banfield Charitable Trust we have been able to provide not only for Sheba, but also for over 50 more fostered animals in our Military and Hospital Pet Foster programs since January 2014.